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Politics

Sheriff candidate Susan Hutson gets key endorsement from New Orleans DA Jason Williams

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Ryan Nelsen
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WWNO
New Orleans DA Jason Williams endorsed sheriff candidate Susan Hutson on Nov. 19, 2021.

Susan Hutson scored a key endorsement from a progressive elected official Friday in the runoff race on Dec. 11 against incumbent New Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

The endorsement announcement came from District Attorney Jason Williams in a gathering in front of the former Sheriff’s Correctional Center near the courthouse.

“After watching this campaign very closely and spending time with Susan, I am confident that she will work to execute strategies that improve in neighborhoods, improve technology, data sharing and transparency,” Williams said.

Williams spoke about the current sheriff wanting to build another jail while speaking in front of a city-owned abandoned jail and complemented Hutson on her commitment to using qualified members of the Sheriff's Department for visibility patrols in high crime neighborhoods.

Hutson drew comparisons to Williams during her campaign as they both come from criminal advocacy backgrounds. The former City Council president, Williams ran against Keva Landrum, a former judge and interim DA, in 2020 in a runoff race for the DA position and won, despite his lack of prosecutorial experience.

Hutson, an independent police monitor, was not well known before the campaign but is starting to draw in outside financial donations from criminal justice PACs and other Democratic donors. Gusman, who also draws money from out of state and support from major state Democratic leaders, has outgained Hutson throughout the campaign.

Gusman has been adamant about completing a new wing on the current jail that would house inmates with mental illnesses. The city must build one due to an agreement between former Mayor Mitch Landrieu and a federal judge after the city's police force and Sheriff's Department entered a federal consent decree.

Both Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City Council are opposed to the new wing.

Hutson also committed that if elected, she would stay out of the headlines and wouldn’t allow a reality show to film in the jail as Gusman did with the Netflix show Jailbirds.

Gusman also recently received headlines when he said charging inmates for phone calls to loved ones is necessary to fund the jail. Hutson said she would make phone calls free.

Hutson also said she would promote women to the role of deputies to diversify the office.

"Maybe even those who were on Jailbirds," Hutson said.

The election will take place Dec. 11 with early voting starting next Saturday, Nov. 27. Five other municipal elections also went to a runoff, including the city’s assessor and four City Council seats.

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